Maxim Sandovich

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Maxim Sandovich
Born1 February 1888, Zdynia, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary
Died6 August 1914, Gorlice, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary
Martyred byDietrich from Linz, for the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Means of martyrdomfiring squad
Venerated inEastern Orthodoxy
CanonizedSeptember 6, 1994, Gorlice, by Polish Orthodox Church
Major shrineNew Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, Gorlice
FeastSeptember 6 (Old Calendar)

Maxim Timofeyevich Sandovich (Russian: Максим Тимофеевич Сандович, Polish: Maksym Sandowicz; 1 February 1888 - 6 August 1914) is a New Martyr and Orthodox saint.[1][2] known as saint hieromartyr Maxim of Gorlice (Polish: Maksym Gorlicki, Russian: Максим Горлицкий). He is the protomartyr of the Lemko people.

He was trained as an Orthodox priest, and was executed by the officially Catholic state of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a Russophile after his conversion to the Orthodox Church. After his execution, his wife was imprisoned in Talerhof, where his son, also named Maxim Sandovich, was born.[3]


Early life[edit]

Maxim Sandovich was born in Zdynia, Galicia, in family of Tymoteusz (or Timofej[4]) and Krystyna Sandowicz. His father owned a farm house and was a Psalmist in the local Greek Catholic church of the Protection of the Mother of God (pl). The mother was a housewife.[5]

He graduated from a four-class school in Gorlice and started his studies at a Gymnasium in Jasło. He then moved to the same school in Nowy Sącz. Among his colleagues he distinguished himself with religiosity; He planned to join the monastery.[5] On the other hand, he had poor academic results, so he had to quit his high school after four class.[4][6] Without parental consent, he then entered the novitiate of the Basilian Order, in the Monastery of Krechov. After three months, in 1904, he left the congregation, disappointed with the spiritual level and general atmosphere of the monastery.[5]

In Russia[edit]

In the same year Maxim Sandovich went to Russia, where secondary school education was not compulsory for candidates seeking admission to the Orthodox theological seminary, nor for the mere acceptance of priestly ordination.[6] He stepped as an obedient to the Pochayev Lavra.[5] He worked in a monastery printing house.[7] In this monastery he was noticed by the archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Volhynia and Zhytomir,[5] who was one of the coordinators funded by the Russian state for the promotion of Orthodoxy in Galicia. This Hierarchy attaches special importance to mobilizing missionaries from Galicia, who are supposed to obtain theological education in Russia and then return to their native areas as promoters of Orthodoxy. In agreement with the Archbishop, the Galician russophiles directed the young men (or even the boys) to Pochayev and Zhytomyr where they met Archbishop Anthony. And he directed them to university studies or to seminaries, often paying for their studies. Maxim Sandovich was also educated in Russia thanks to the scholarship granted by the Archbishop Anthony of Volhynia.[6] Archbishop Anthony argued that the future missionary was his spiritual disciple[7]

Archbishop Anthony directed Sandovich to the theological seminary in Zhitomir. Even prior to the completion of study, during the family visit, the future clergyman was offered to take over the duties of the parish priest of the Orthodox parish in Grab, where the inhabitants of the community converted from the Greek Catholic faith.[5] According to Anna Veronica Wendland, the initiator of this conversion was Sandowicz, who, in consultation with the uniate priest Teodor Durkot from Zdynia, suggested the peasants of Grab to solve their conflict with the local clergyman with organizing an Orthodox pastoral institution. He declared the readiness of the exercise thereof.[8]

In 1911 Sandowicz graduated from the seminary for the best results in his year. He married Pelagia Grygoruk, daughter of an Orthodox priest from Nowe Berezowo. Prior to the priest sordination, Archbishop Anthony asked Sandowicz for his pastoral work in Galicia as the hierarch recommended it; in case of disagreement Archbishop Anthony suggested Sandowicz to serve in Kiev.[5] Sandowicz intended to join the missionary campaign among the Greek-catholic Lemkos. Archbishop Antoni agreed and on November 17, 1911 he ordained Sandovich as a priest, directing him to the parish in Grab.[9]

Activities in Galicia[edit]

Fr. Maksym Sandowicz took over the parish in Grab. The first service at the local prayer house was celebrated on December 2, 1911.[9] The 150 faithful participated in it.[4] Along with him from Russia to Galicia came priests Ivan Ileczko, who took over the parish in Cieląż and Ignacy Hudyma, who became parish priest in Załuch.[10]

Small religiousness of the Greek Catholic peasants and the ease with which they manipulated the Galician Russophiles, proclaiming the superiority of the Orthodox Church and the necessity of joining Galicia to Russia, raised the anxiety of the Austrian administration in an increasingly tense international situation. As in the case of Hniliczek's affair, the Austrian authorities considered it necessary to take a strong stand against the entire Russophile movement.[11]

One of the means of limiting Russophile movement was the recognition as an illegal pastoral activity of Orthodox priests ordained in Russia, who did not have the consent of the Metropolitan of Bukovina to serve in his Galicia jurisdiction.[11] Fr. Sandowicz did not have such permission, but claimed that his direct superior was the Patriarch of Constantinople, and that the legitimacy of the Orthodox Church in Austria meant that any ordained cleric of this confession could operate in Galicia.[4] This translation was not included and Fr. Maxim Sandowicz was arrested for eight days and sentenced to a fine of 400 crowns after the first service in the Grab,[9] defined by the local authorities as one of Orthodox centers and pro-Russian propaganda.[10] On December 22 or 24, 1911, the chapel in Grab was closed, but the clergyman continued to celebrate the service, using the rooms he made available in private homes.[9] Such practices, in the context of the fight against russophiles, were prohibited.[11] In this connection, Fr. Sandowicz was again arrested and fined 300 crowns or month of arrest. Also, this time the priest did not cease his activity, making illegal worship not only in Grab but also in Wyszowadka and Długie. Consequently, on January 16, 1912, he was sentenced to seven weeks in jail. After serving his sentence he resumed his missionary work in favor of Orthodoxy. The priest was easily accepted by the local community because he maintained good contacts with local Greek-Catholic clerics on Rusophilian beliefs. Similar views were very lively among the Lemko people.[4] According to Bernadetta Wójtowicz-Huber: "Sandowycz was an extraordinary personality. Despite the ban on further activities, thanks to charisma, deep faith and good repute, it became a symbol of the Lemko community".[4]

The financial aspect of his activity has also contributed to the Sandowicz's popularity. He gave away the poor people donations, gathered at the sacrifice, expecting them only to swear that they would not convert again to Catholicism. He and other missionaries who came from Russia offered low prices for religious services, raised funds from the Russian sources for the construction of new temples. For the Galician people, who lived in poverty, this was important.[12] The authority of the clergyman also increased as penalties imposed on him. In the rural communities that have gone through Orthodoxy, the subsequent detention of the clergy tightened his ties with the faithful and contributed to his recognition as a martyr, persecuted by the authorities.[13]

First arrest and trial[edit]

March 28, 1912, shortly after release from custody, Fr. Sandovich was again detained along with another Orthodox priest, Ignacy Hudyma. Initially, the clergymen were accused of measuring the length of the bridge in Cheremosh. They were then taken to the detention center in Lviv and charged with espionage for Russia.[14]

The detention of priests Sandovich and Hudyma was part of wider Austrian antirussophile activities. In Lviv, was arrested Semen Bendasiuk, the organizer of the dormitory, promoting the Russophile ideas among young people, and Wasyl Kołdra, founder of the russophile reading room. In Hungarian Ruthenia, where the movement for Orthodoxy was even stronger than in Galicia, the process of 94 peasants, who 94 advocated conversion, accused of espionage and treason, was conducted between March 1913 and February 1914 in Marmaroschsiget, ended in a recognition of defendants guilty and punishing them with a long prison term.

In the opinion of Włodzimierz Osadczy: "On the eve of the war, the show trial over the Orthodox agitators was to be a warning to all forces sympathizing to Russia, and not only for the Rusyns but also for the growing power of Polish national democrats". The same author considered that the analogous task the Austrian authorities put up before the process of Bendasiuk, Kołdra, fr. Hudyma and fr. Sandovich, began March 9, 1914 in Lvov and lasted three months.

All accused in this trial were charged with espionage and betrayal of state expressed in the desire to detach "Ruthenian lands" from Austro-Hungary and join them in the Russian Empire. Both clerics were also accused of illegally celebrating the service and preaching and unlawful travel to Russia. Fr. Sandowicz was also accused that he expressed in an offensive manner about the Catholic religion. On the ninth day of the trial, he was questioned about the finding in his memoirs of a brulion in which the clergyman made his or her reflections on the Orthodox Church and the Union of Brest.


  • Lambertsen, Isaac E. (1999). Holy New Hieromartyr Maximus Sandovich: Protomartyr of the Lemko People. Saint John of Kronstadt Press. ISBN 0-912927-94-1.
  • Osadczy, Włodzimierz (2007). Święta Ruś. Rozwój i oddziaływanie idei prawosławia w Galicji (in Polish). Lublin: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej. ISBN 978-83-227-2672-3.
  • Wójtowicz-Huber, Bernadetta (2008). "Ojcowie narodu". Duchowieństwo greckokatolickie w ruchu narodowym Rusinów galicyjskich (1867-1918) (in Polish). Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. ISBN 978-83-235-0383-5.
  • Charkiewicz, Jarosław (2008). Męczennicy XX wieku. Martyrologia Prawosławia w Polsce w biografiach świętych (in Polish). Warszawa: Warszawska Metropolia Prawosławna. ISBN 978-83-60311-11-0.
  • Anna Rydzanicz. O przeszłości trzeba mówić. "Przegląd Prawosławny". 10 (268), październik 2007. Białystok. ISSN 1230-1078.


  1. ^ Maximus Sandovich at
  2. ^ The Persecution and Death of Father Maxim Sandovich Archived 2009-09-12 at the Wayback Machine at The Hermitage of the Holy Cross
  3. ^ Sandowicz, Tatiana (6 March 1992). "In Memory of Rev. Maksym Sandowicz, a Martyr of Talehof". Karpatska Rus'. Yonkers, New York: 3.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Wójtowicz-Huber 2008, pp. 187-189.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Charkiewicz 2008, pp. 13-15.
  6. ^ a b c Osadczy 2007, pp. 544-546.
  7. ^ a b A. Rydzanicz. O przeszłości trzeba mówić. "Przegląd Prawosławny". 10 (268), październik 2007. Białystok. ISSN 1230-1078.
  8. ^ A. Wendland: Die Russophilen in Galizien. Ukrainische Konservative zwischen Österreich und Russland, 1848-1915. Wiedeń: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2001, s. 505. ISBN 978-3-7001-2938-7.
  9. ^ a b c d Charkiewicz 2008, pp. 16-17.
  10. ^ a b Wójtowicz-Huber 2008, pp. 180-181.
  11. ^ a b c Osadczy 2007, pp. 565-567.
  12. ^ Wójtowicz-Huber 2008, pp. 190-192.
  13. ^ Wójtowicz-Huber 2008, pp. 209-210.
  14. ^ Charkiewicz 2008, pp. 18-19.